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Kaila Luttrell
March 09, 2017

What Loss Aversion Can Teach You About Promoting Your Race

Grow Your Online Race Registration Numbers by Understanding Loss Aversion
You might be wondering what in the world an economics term coined back in the 70's has to do with modern day marketing for races. 
And the answer is that it can help you get more people to sign up for your event earlier without having to offer any special discounts or freebies in the process. 
According to our friend Wikipedia, "...loss aversion refers to people's tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains: it's better to not lose $5 than to find $5." In other words, it's better to pay the regular price today than to wait a day and pay a higher price. 

Loss Aversion + Getting People To Register

Because your goal is to get folks to complete your online race registration (take an action), what's important here is to consider what gets people to act. Let's think about these two scenarios:
Scenario 1: You are walking down the street and you see a $20 bill blowing in the wind. The wind is blowing the $20 away from you, and you'll have to do some sprinting if you want to go get it. 
Scenario 2: You are walking down the street, and you realize you dropped a $20 bill about a half a mile back. You'll need to run back quickly to see if you can pick it up before anyone else happens upon it. 
Which scenario feels more urgent to you? Where do you feel most motivated to take action?
For me (and most people I can think of) going back for the $20 I dropped is more urgent than chasing a $20 bill down the street that was never mine to begin with. 
And sure enough, other people agree: "It is thought that the pain of losing is psychologically about twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining, and since people are more willing to take risks to avoid a loss, loss aversion can explain differences in risk-seeking versus aversion."
So how exactly does this relate to marketing your race? 

Discount Codes vs. Price Increases

Let's set aside the economics-ese for a moment and take a look at a few of the most popular ways to promote events:

  1. Offer a discount code
  2. Give away free swag
  3. Send messaging around price increases

I know how much people love discounts and swag, but how motivated are they to register for your event right now when they see those offers? 

How about when you tell them, "You can kiss $20 of your hard earned cash goodbye if you do not register right now because prices are going up tomorrow"?

Loss aversion tells us that the price increases will be most effective because discount codes and free swag are "acquiring equivalent gains", and registering before a price increase is "avoiding losses" and we are more likely to go out of our way to avoid a loss than we are to go after a gain. 


How To Put This Into Practice?

Take it for a test drive. imATHLETE's email manager makes it a cinch to email folks who registered for your race in previous years but haven't yet signed up this year. A day or two before your next price increase goes out, shoot those folks an email letting them know they can still register before prices go up. Use Event Marketing Links to track the conversions you see from your email, and you can start measuring your results
Learn How To Email Past Participants



Everybody Wins

The great thing about this is everybody wins. You're promoting your race at your current price (which means you aren't losing any revenue) and your event is filling up both earlier and faster.
Your participants, on the other hand, get to enjoy registering for your race early to avoid a loss when the price goes up and also get a confirmed spot in your event!

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